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An Epistle to Mr. POPE.

From Rome, 1730.

1 IMmortal bard! for whom each Muse has wove
2 The fairest garlands of th' Aonian grove;
3 Preserv'd, our drooping genius to restore,
4 When Addison and Congreve are no more.
5 After so many stars extinct in night
6 The darken'd ages last remaining light!
7 To thee from Latian realms this verse is writ,
8 Inspir'd by memory of ancient wit;
9 For now no more these climes their influence boast,
10 Fall'n is their glory, and their virtue lost;
11 From Tyrants and from Priests the Muses fly,
12 Daughters of Reason and of Liberty:
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13 Nor Baioe now, nor Umbria's plain they love,
14 Nor on the banks of Var, or Mincius rove;
15 To Thames's flow'ry borders they retire,
16 And kindle in thy breast the Roman fire.
17 So in the shades, where cheer'd with summer rays
18 Melodious linnets warbled sprightly lays,
19 Soon as the faded, falling leaves complain
20 Of gloomy Winter's unauspicious reign,
21 No tuneful voice is heard of joy or love,
22 But mournful silence saddens all the grove.
23 Unhappy Italy! whose alter'd state
24 Has felt the worst severity of fate:
25 Not that Barbarian hands her Fasces broke,
26 And bow'd her haughty neck beneath their yoke;
27 Not that her palaces to earth are thrown,
28 Her cities desart, and her fields unsown;
29 But that her ancient spirit is decay'd,
30 That sacred Wisdom from her bounds is fled,
31 That there the source of Science flows no more,
32 Whence its rich streams supply'd the world before.
33 Illustrious names! that once in Latium shin'd,
34 Born to instruct and to command mankind;
35 Chiefs, by whose virtue mighty Rome was rais'd,
36 And Poets, who those Chiefs sublimely prais'd!
37 Oft I the traces you have left explore,
38 Your ashes visit, and your urns adore;
39 Oft kiss, with lips devout, some mould'ring stone,
40 With ivy's venerable shade o'ergrown;
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41 Those hallow'd ruins better pleas'd to see
42 Than all the pomp of modern luxury.
43 As late on Virgil's tomb fresh flow'rs I strow'd,
44 While with th' inspiring Muse my bosom glow'd,
45 Crown'd with eternal bays my ravish'd eyes
46 Beheld the poet's aweful form arise;
47 Stranger, he said, whose pious hand has paid
48 These grateful rites to my attentive shade,
49 When thou shalt breathe thy happy native air,
50 To Pope this message from his Master bear:
51 'Great Bard, whose numbers I myself inspire,
52 To whom I gave my own harmonious lyre,
53 If high exalted on the throne of Wit,
54 Near me and Homer thou aspire to sit,
55 No more let meaner Satire dim the rays
56 That flow majestick from thy nobler bays;
57 In all the flow'ry paths of Pindus stray,
58 But shun that thorny, that unpleasing way;
59 Nor when each soft engaging Muse is thine,
60 Address the least attractive of the Nine.
61 Of thee more worthy were the task, to raise
62 A lasting column to thy Country's praise;
63 To sing the land, which yet alone can boast
64 That Liberty corrupted Rome has lost;
65 Where Science in the arms of Peace is laid,
66 And plants her Palm beside the Olive's shade.
67 Such was the theme for which my lyre I strung,
68 Such was the people whose exploits I sung;
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69 Brave, yet refin'd, for arms and arts renown'd,
70 With diff'rent bays by Mars and Phoebus crown'd;
71 Dauntless opposers of tyrannick sway,
72 But pleas'd a mild Augustus to obey.
73 If these commands submissive thou receive,
74 Immortal and unblam'd thy name shall live;
75 Envy to black Cocytus shall retire,
76 And howl with Furies in tormenting fire;
77 Approving Time shall consecrate thy lays,
78 And join the Patriot's to the Poet's praise.'

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): An Epistle to Mr. POPE. From Rome, 1730.
    Themes: poetry; literature; writing; patriotism; glory of the British nation
    Genres: heroic couplet
    References: DMI 2790

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    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. II. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 35-38. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.002) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.